Smartphone App Research and Development - Public History Internship

Posted on 16 September 2014

I was tasked with coming up with new ideas for the smartphone app that details the religious history of York through its many current and former churches and religious buildings.

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For the past few months I have been working with the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture based at the University of York.  I was tasked with coming up with new ideas for the smartphone app that details the religious history of York through its many current and former churches and religious buildings. The initial project was to research and map “lost churches” – those that did exist but have since been demolished, as well as decommissioned churches that are now used in other capacities.

This was a really interesting project because, as a medieval history MA student, many of the churches were constructed and subsequently demolished during the period of history that I find so exciting, and then to think of imaginative and creative ways of conveying this story to the wider public was a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed. Whilst the final trail will be on the smartphone app, I also created a public Google Map which detailed about 200 words for each church. I then created more and more maps showing the different eras the churches were built in – some used Roman masonry, for example, some have been found to have Anglo-Scandinavian grave covers,  others have Civil-War era damage and even graffiti, some have myths surrounding their origins and for some, nobody is even certain they existed at all. I wanted to appeal to visitors and residents with interests that could potentially cover over a thousand years’ worth of history, from the murky depths of pre-Conquest England to the religious non-conformism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Working with such a small but fantastically able and dedicated team of people was a massive motivator for me and meant that I really, really enjoyed my time both in the office and out, devising and plotting the trails and tours (I must have walked the City Walls more times than anyone in York, trying to work out which spires and towers belonged to which church).   It was great to learn about the technical aspects of app development as well as the other projects of C&C, all of which are exactly what I would love to become involved with. I got to help out on some of these, such as testing their touch-screen programs and developing exit-surveys for various clients and their visitors.

I absolutely loved my time working with them and would do it all over again in an instant.

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Ros Gammie

Public History Internship